Bret Stephens is a columnist for the New York Times and a winner of the Pulitzer Prize. For many years, he was a columnist and editor at the Wall Street Journal. Before that, he was editor of the Jerusalem Post. He grew up in Mexico City. With Jay, he talks about Mexico, and Latin America in general, and the Middle East, and China, and Russia, and many other subjects. Often, when Stephens writes a killer of a column, Jay says, “I wish I could give him another Pulitzer Prize.” At the end of the podcast, discussion turns to America and its future. Stephens is a deep-dyed patriot. And he hails the regenerative powers of these United States.More
Andrew Roberts is a major historian and biographer: of World War II, Napoleon, etc. He has now written a life of Churchill, his subject of subjects. This is the one he has been waiting for, preparing for, says Roberts. Jay talks to him about all matters Churchill, or many matters: his intelligence, his literary skill, his American side, his moods, his marriage, his personal habits, his religion (or lack of one), his politics, his views on race, and so on. There is also the question, What do individuals matter in history? This “Q&A” is a superb little tour of Churchill, by one who knows him intimately.More
Pardon the plagiaristic title, but it describes this podcast with David French and Vivek Dave, two of Jay’s regular gurus on sports. They do the Major League Baseball playoffs, the NFL, college football, the NBA (happy new season), and a dollop of Tiger Woods. There are many issues discussed in this episode, including the rather philosophical or elevated: Why sports? A freewheeling joy of a podcast, live-and-in-the-flesh from Chicago.More
Stephen Harper was prime minister of Canada from 2006 to 2015. Jay routinely referred to him as “the Leader of the West.” Harper has just published a new book, “Right Here, Right Now: Politics and Leadership in the Age of Disruption.” Its themes are populism, conservatism, and current passions. Harper came of age with Reagan and Thatcher (and so did Jay). This is a different moment, though, and Harper has thought deeply about it. Jay talks with him about all this, plus some other issues—including U.S. perceptions of Canada, the nature of Pierre Trudeau, and Harper’s remarkable encounter with Putin. Stephen Harper is not to be missed: not only a superb practitioner of politics (witness his decade-long premiership) but also a superb analyst of politics.More
Togo is a little country in West Africa, wedged between Ghana and Benin. For more than 50 years, it has been ruled by two dictators, father and son, one after the other — as in Syria and elsewhere, as Jay points out. This regime is opposed by a remarkable young woman named Farida Nabourema, who is Jay’s guest. Wait’ll you hear her story, her thoughts, and her spirit. You could almost feel sorry for the dictatorship.More
Leyla Hussein is a leading campaigner against FGM, which stands for “female genital mutilation.” She has lived in Britain for many years but started out in Somalia – where she herself underwent this brutal practice. She was seven. Jay interviewed her a year ago, at the Oslo Freedom Forum. He saw her again a few days ago at another session of the forum – and she was agitated by news she had just received from home, i.e., from Somalia: the deaths of several young girls from FGM. Instead of “deaths,” you could say “murders.” Jay said to her, “Want to talk about it?” She said yes, so he turned on his tape recorder and Leyla talked for a few minutes – passionately and truthfully, as usual. Hear this extraordinary woman.More
Jay wanted to talk some things over with Kevin D. Williamson, and Kevin obliged. They talk about issues of concern to them both: what makes an economy go (and stall); the whys and wherefores of immigration; the effects of trade; the nature of poverty. They talk about other issues too, including (gulp) Playboy clubs. KDW is a wonderful thinker and gent, and these qualities come shining through in this podcast.More
On assignment in Miami, Jay ran over to Coral Gables to see Jeb Bush. They talked about current issues — the Kavanaugh mess, the Florida election races, Hurricane Florence — and some issues of longer-term concern: the nature of the Democrats, for example, and the nature of the Republicans. Also under consideration are refugees, immigrants, and American identity. Bush talks about the presidential race in 2016 and the presidential race coming up in 2020. At the end, the subject is family — the Bush family, in particular. In this highly interesting hour, Jeb Bush talks politically and personally, both.More
Rachel Fulton Brown is a professor of history at the University of Chicago. She is a medievalist. And she has attracted great controversy. Naturally, Jay wanted to talk to her. They talk about being a medievalist. What attracted her to the field in the first place? They talk about “The Lord of the Rings.” And then life in academia, when your views are considered heretical. She is a happy warrior, Professor Fulton Brown, and also a fencer. A woman of parts. And a woman of guts.More
Jim McAdams is a professor of international relations at Notre Dame, and a “Communistologist,” as Jay says. He was seen by millions in a video a couple of weeks ago, broadcast during the Notre Dame–Michigan football game. McAdams is one of the leading authorities on Communism in the world. He is the author of “Vanguard of the Revolution: The Global Idea of the Communist Party.” Jay reviewed it here. And he talks with McAdams about a number of issues, including his own background: How did a good American boy get so interested in Communism? Among the other issues are China, Cuba, Gorbachev, the United States, and the fate of liberal democracy. McAdams says, powerfully, that love is under challenge. It must be stood up for.More
The college-football season is underway, and Jay has a special ’cast with David French and Vivek Dave. Each of those guests is a whiz. They talk about Alabama, the 800-pound gorilla of college football. The relative strengths of the conferences. The question of Urban Meyer (Ohio State’s coach). Differences between the college game and the pro game. Whether college athletes should be paid. Etc. A lively episode, full of information and opinions.More
Grant Starrett is a Tennessee lawyer, businessman, and politico. He’s also an old friend of Jay’s (and a return guest). More to the point of the present episode: He’s a big reader, a reading machine. He reads and reads – books. So, with Jay, in this episode, he talks about the reading life: how he does it and why he does it. We all make investments in our time. Starrett has thought a lot about how he wants to invest. And he discusses books at his website, grantstarrett.com. An unusual “Q&A” with an unusual, and unusually bright, guy.More
Ed. Note: To mark the passing of Senator John McCain, we’re reposting this interview Jay Nordlinger did with him in 2015.
Jay’s guest today is John McCain, the senior senator from Arizona and the 2008 Republican presidential nominee. At Jay’s prompting, he covers the waterfront, or at least a fair stretch of it: Iran, Syria, Israel, China, etc. He talks about wars past and present (and possibly future). Did the U.S. betray the people of South Vietnam? Did McCain think he would get out of the cells alive?More
Sir Willard White is an opera singer with a story to tell: from Jamaica, to the Juilliard School, to a knighthood, and beyond. He is as commanding a speaker as he is a singer. With Jay, he talks about his growing up, the decision to sing, the sting of racism, and much more. He even does a little singing — including “Love Me Tender” and “Smile.”More
At the Salzburg Festival this summer, Herbert Blomstedt was a big hit. He was a big hit onstage with the Vienna Philharmonic, and, an hour afterward, a big hit on a smaller stage with Jay. Blomstedt quoted Picasso: “It took me many years to become youthful.” And he described music as a “search for truth.” An inspiring – and fun – conversation (complete with plenty of singing).More
Javier Camarena is one of the leading tenors in the world. He is a guest at the Salzburg Festival, and participated in a series of conversations hosted by the Salzburg Festival Society. The moderator of this series is Jay. This episode of “Q&A” gives you excerpts of the conversation with Camarena. Jay actually had an encounter with this tenor in an opera house years ago – a story that Jay tells toward the end of the episode. It could be that Javier Camarena, in addition to being a bel canto idol, is the politest man in the arts.More
The Ravinia Festival is the famous music festival outside Chicago. Its longtime president and CEO is Welz Kauffman – who talks with Jay about his life and work. Kauffman has been in the business since the ’80s, encountering the great and the good (and the bad). He has seen changes in American culture, for better or worse. He has his eye on the scene and his finger on the pulse.
A bonus fact: He matriculated with Barack Obama (then known as “Barry”) at Occidental College. And was present for what was probably the future president’s first public speech of any significance.More
Kyle Parker is on Putin’s “wanted” list – one of the people Putin wants handed over to the FSB, for questioning. Parker is the chief of staff at the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and a father of the Magnitsky Act, a law that gives Putin a stomach ache. With Jay, Parker talks about life on the list and much more. An interesting and invaluable guy, Kyle Parker.More
Bill Browder is the financier whose lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, was tortured to death by Russian authorities. Since that time, Browder has worked for justice, spearheading “Magnitsky acts,” which are laws that place sanctions on Russian human-rights abusers.
Browder is high on Putin’s enemies list. Indeed, he is high on Putin’s literal list: the list of people whom Putin wants handed over to the FSB – formerly the KGB – in a deal with President Trump. Putin singled out Browder at the recent Trump-Putin press conference.More